by Virginia Reed Murphy, girl emigrant.
Virginia was 12 years old when her family left Springfield, Illinois to trek across the plains to California, their intended new home, along with 25 fellow emigrants. Along the way, her grandmother died, her pony had to be left, her family lost their oxen and had to abandon a wagon with their possessions, her stepfather killed a man and was banished from the train, and then she and her group were trapped in snows at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada crest at and near what is now Donner Lake and Truckee, California. As a result, 13 of those who started with her in Springfield, and 29 more who joined her along the way, never did cross those mountains. Here is the little girl's story, written by her later as an adult, now a part of the American epic of winning the West. 2010.
Reprinted from Century Magazine with illustrations added from Frederic Remington and others. 64 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN: 978-0-89646-099-7. Order #: VIST0099 paper$7.95.
edited by Frederick J. Teggart.
Diary kept by 1846-47 Donner Party emigrant who survived over-winter entrapment in Sierra snow near Truckee, California, while many others with. Snows, checking on others, scant food rations, shelters.
7 photos, 16 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN: 978-0-89646-102-4. Order #: VIST0102 paper$3.95.
by William V. Wells, a Miner of the Year '49.
Mining methods in use in California's Mother Lode gold belt early in its history: use of the pan, rocker, long tom, flutter wheel, quicksilver machine, and river "jamming" and "coyoteing". Surveys state's active gold regions--Mariposa, Table Mountain at Sonora, Grass Valley, Chinese Digging, Gold Hill, Mormon Gulch, as well as the north coast. A good history of a dominant industry of the state in its time, and whose relics and remnants dominate the tourist industry that has grown up where the mines were. This story helps explain the marks and machinery that modern-day tourists still see on the hillsides and in the museums of the gold country. And its general principles will help would-be miners, too.
Reprinted from "Harper's" for 1860. Illustrations from early sources, including a center spread by Frederic Remington. 24 pages. New edition June 2010; color cover 8.5" x 11". See sample pages, illustrations. Special order; allow extra time.
ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-100-0. Order #: VIST0100 paper$4.95.
by Taliesin Evans.
By the 1870s and1880s in the California gold country, the gold that had been easy to pick up already had been. But there was lots more, buried in the earth. A massive plumbing system was built to harness water as a tool to wash the earth away and leave a residue of heavy metals, especially gold. Meanwhile, though, mud and gravel released in the process washed downstream to inundate farms and homes. Dwellers there objected, and in court they effectively stopped the hydraulic mining--one of the earliest environmental court actions. But when our author was there, his interest was describing a vital western industry. And the mines can still be seen--Interstate Highway 80 runs right through one at Gold Run, and another is the Malakoff Diggings State Historical Park, where you can not only see the washed banks but also some of the nozzles and mining equipment used to get the gold out.
Reprinted from 1883. Illustrations are from the original article and other period sources. 16 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-052-5. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-052-2. Order #: VIST0052 paper $3.95.
by George Wharton James, naturalist, chronicler of Indian basketry.
This book (in abridged form here) has long been a standard history of Lake Tahoe--telling how the lake was discovered by Fremont while he was what we would today call lost, how it got its name (at first, names), how it was formed, and how it was first used and developed. Author James was a prolific writer early in the 20th century, and did a number of other books on Western travel sites, as well as a technique manual showing how Indians made their baskets. His text in "Lake of the Sky" affirms that this was a favorite site of his, where he returned often. Abridged edition reprinted from the 1915 original.
Period illustrations. 96 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-038-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-038-6. Order #: VIST0038 paper$6.95.
by J. M. Hutchings, explorer, promoter, editor, Yosemite pioneer.
An excerpt from Hutchings' larger work, Scenes of Wonder & Curiosity in California, centering just on this bigtree grove to show how early tourists traveled there by river steamer and stagecoach. We hear of early attempts to exploit the grove's wonders by cutting the bark from the giants and shipping it to the East for exhibition, a move widely deplored by the abundant tree-lovers of that time. Also tells of the efforts to cut down one of the huge and tall trees, using a stump as a dance floor for 32 people, and putting a bowling lane along a fallen trunk. Our author had been deeply involved in the tourist movement, having led the first tourist party into nearby Yosemite, operating a hotel there, and publishing the California Magazine.
Illustrations from period sources. 24 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-050-9. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-050-8. Order #: VIST0050paper$3.95.
by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).
Here are the famous humorist's adventures in and around early Virginia City, Nevada Territory (now Nevada state). There are silver mining, speculation in silver mines, work in a quartz mill. A trip to Lake Tahoe to secure a timber empire resulted mainly in starting a forest fire. There was the search for the Lost Cement Mine, and, finally, reporting for "The Territorial Enterprise", Virginia City's rollicking newspaper that reported the episodes of riches and murders rampant in this important Western mining center. The writings here were first published in 1872 in "Roughing It", but we have pulled from the larger work just episodes on Virginia City in order to maintain that as a focus. Read these Twain anecdotes for fun, but, remember, too, that these incidents really happened, and that the principals were often in dead earnest; it just took Twain's insights to show the satirical side of human nature. Illustrations are from the original book and other sources.
64 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-074-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-074-4. Order #: VIST0074 paper$6.95.
by Charles B. Gillespie.
This story is set in Coloma, the California gold discovery site of 1848. But it might have happened at any of the gold-rush sites of the West--Virginia City, Cripple Creek, the Klondike--and it probably did, but only on Sunday. Town was a lively place the one day the mines were shut down, with a mix of nationalities engaging in gambling, auctions, horse-racing, shopping for clothes and supplies, eating, drinking, brawling, and general tom-foolery as you might expect from a bunch of young men from all over the world who were off to a get-rich adventure. Illustrations are from early sources, including the original article of 1891, Frederic Remington, and the Crocker Art Museum.
16 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-005-3. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-005-8. Order #: VIST0005 paper$3.95.
by Ernest Thompson Seton, naturalist.
This classic wildlife story was created just after 1900, when a few California grizzly bears, like Monarch, still did roam the Sierra; now they roam only on California's flag. It is a story of the sad life of one of the last wild grizzlies who lived near Tallac, the high mountain rising from Lake Tahoe's west shore, still wild country today, located in the Desolation Basin Wilderness Area. The book "Monarch" was written for children, but like all truly classic children's literature, is excellent reading for adults, too. Author Seton left many wildlife works for us, such as "Wild Animals I Have Known" and "The Biography of a Grizzly" and was also a practical leader, founding the Woodcraft League, forerunner of today's Boy Scouts. His museum is at the scouts' Philmont Ranch in New Mexico. 100 drawings from the original, by the author, are included.
168 pages. Covers scuffed. Limited supply. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-040-1. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-040-9.Order #: VIST0040 paper$12.95.
by Charles E. DeLong, convicted murderer's attorney, et. al.
Julia, a courtesan now legendary, had not only been a favorite female companion of Virginia City's males, but had been an active contributor to the community in times of civil need, such as the Comstock's early, terrible winters when she attended the sick and needy. Her support of the volunteer fire brigade earned her the title of Honorary Member. Her murder severely offended the camp's code of decency, hard though that was. When her murderer was found, tried, convicted, and hung, virtually the whole town turned out for the final event, "a fine hanging", "the most gala to date in Nevada", it was called. That same evening, Mark Twain, returning from the Holy Land to this town where he had begun his writing career as a news reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, gave a lecture.
Reprinted from a pamphlet issued on the eve of the hanging of Julia's murderer. Illustrations from contemporary publications. 16 pages. See sample pages, illustrations.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-044-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-044-7. Order #: VIST0044 paper$3.95.
Notecards: the Donner-Tahoe Sierra.
by Thomas Moran, 19th century landscape painter.
Views from early California of Donner Lake, Lake Tahoe, and Summit of the Sierras--all by Moran, plus Eagle Falls above Emerald Bay. 2 scenes each from lithographs, with 8 envelopes; antique white stock.
ISBN: 0-89646-092-4. Order #: VIST0092 notecard$9.95.
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